Free Desktop Publishing Software for Windows

These free PC software programs get the job done

Many of the free desktop publishing software downloads are specialty utilities. They are fine for a specific job—such as labels or business cards—but they aren't full-featured page design tools. However, a few free programs for Windows have powerful publishing capabilities, including page layout, vector graphics, and image editing programs.

Scribus
Scribus. Scribus - Screenshot from scribus.net

Scribus is free desktop publishing software with many of the features of pro packages. Scribus offers CMYK support, font embedding and subsetting, PDF creation, EPS import/export, basic drawing tools, and other professional level features. Scribus works in a fashion similar to Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress with text frames, floating palettes, and pull-down menus—and without the hefty price tag. As great as free is, this might not be the software you want if you have no prior experience with desktop publishing software and don't want to devote time to mastering the learning curve. 

 Download Scribus 1.4x for Windows at the Scribus website.

After you download the free Scribus software, check out these Scribus Tutorials. More »

PagePlus Starter Edition screen shot from Serif Web site
PagePlus Starter Edition screen shot from Serif Web site. PagePlus Starter Edition screen shot from Serif Web site

Aimed at both novice and professional users, PagePlus Starter Edition combines ease-of-use and some professional options, such as advanced layout and typesetting, with word processing and drawing tools. The software includes drag-and-drop design tools and plenty of templates, so anyone can enjoy PagePlus—even people with no technical design experience. If you are looking for simple desktop publishing software, then PagePlus Starter Edition is a good option for you.

Download Serif PagePlus Starter Edition for Windows here.

After you download the free PagePlus SE version, learn to use it with these PagePlus SE Tutorials.

    More »
    Apache OpenOffice Logo
    Apache OpenOffice Logo

    Apache OpenOffice productivity suite fans claim it is better than Microsoft Office. Get fully integrated word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, and database tools in this free open source software. Among the many features, you'll find PDF and SWF (Flash) export, increased Microsoft Office format support, and support for multiple languages. If your desktop publishing needs are basic, but you want a full suite of office tools, try Apache OpenOffice.

    Download Apache OpenOffice 4.x for Windows at the Apache OpenOffice website.

      More »

    Inkscape screenshot from Inkscape.org
    Inkscape screenshot from Inkscape.org. Inkscape screenshot from Inkscape.org

    A popular free, open source vector drawing program, Inkscape uses the scalable vector graphics (SVG) file format. Use Inkscape for creating text and graphics compositions including business cards, book covers, flyers, and ads. Inkscape is similar in capabilities to Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW.  It's a graphics program that is more flexible than a bitmap photo program for doing many desktop publishing page layout tasks.

    Download Inkscape 0.92 for Windows at the Inkscape website.

    After you download Inkscape, learn to use it for desktop publishing with these Inkscape tutorials. More »

    2010 About.com Reader's Choice Awards Winner: GIMP
    2010 About.com Reader's Choice Awards Winner: GIMP. About.com / gimp.org

    The GNU Image Management Program (GIMP) is a popular free open source alternative to Photoshop and other photo editing software. GIMP is a bitmap photo editor, so it doesn't work well for text-intensive design or anything with multiple pages, but it's a great free addition to your desktop publishing software collection.

     Download GIMP 2.8x for Windows at the GIMP website. More »